Something about your writing:
I’m working on a series right now, and so I can’t see past it. Misfortunes of T-Funk is about musicians. Without beating everyone over the head with the idea, I do hope in the subtext of the lives of these two main characters—Theo and Judah—readers will come away with a better idea of the experience of music as a career, from ground zero. I hope to bridge my readers to this reality beyond the peripheral romanticism of what we might read in a biography of some hugely successful act, or articles in say, Rolling Stone magazine.
So Book 1 is out, self-titled by the series, and Book 2 is nearly done. I believe I’ll be calling this second book, Melancholia Theater. In it we will see out beyond the walls of the music college the two guys are enrolled in, into the alternate universe I’ve created set in the near future, including some of the technological developments as they impact the music industry. Maybe I’m heading into the territory of what’s called dystopian. Genre classification is not my bag, but anyway, it sort of looks that way at the moment.
To speak more broadly, frivolity is a recurring theme in my writing. In a review of my first book (Seven Eleven Forgotten and Other Stories), I learned there’s a Russian word for this—bitva. Bitva is something that both inspires and obstructs art, and this is a razor’s edge artists of all kinds walk; it’s no accident I take great pains to describe it. To the sensitive reader, it can be funny, sad, even tragic how such little details impact artists, but they do say write what you know—and I’ve known a shit ton of bitva in my own life.
Something about me:
I’m a musician myself—of many years. I have focused on jazz for quite a while. I used to be a classroom teacher—a classroom music teacher at the elementary and sometimes middle and high school grade levels.
I started a series about the teaching profession, called The Bud Hawthorne Revue. I feel education is a sadly marginalized, even abused profession, and so I am making an effort to speak out about it through writing. And we’re back on the dystopia theme—really, one can hardly imagine how pitiful are the conditions and how cruel the expectations put on teachers, at least here in the States, and in most of the situations I’ve experienced or investigated.
So now I play out in a cover band in Taos, NM (Out of Nowhere). Taos is a strange little ski resort town where I live with my wife, Sarah. Work is scarce. For the rest of my money I teach privates and pick up odd jobs here and there. For example, I’ve also done some editing and ghostwriting to help pay bills. Ghostwriting is strange because my tendency is to give everything I have to a project; when a project isn’t really mine it’s likely to be changed anyway, and so it’s more about ignoring the muse and pleasing the employer. Very strange indeed.
Anyway, I write a lot more since I quit my teaching job, which was part of the idea of breaking away. Since leaving the classroom, I’ve missed those kids in the schools a lot, but not the grown-ups so much. I have step kids (now grown) and other children in my life through a stint my wife and I had in offering foster care (for about two years).
My life is very full, and I’m lately more thoughtful and grateful for this—I just have to keep reminding myself to take the time to appreciate it.
Review of Seven Eleven Forgotten and Other Stories: “A winning, weird, and ultimately trippy book that will upend your expectations and leave you eager for the next…” —Kathleen Glasgow, New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Pieces.